Food for thought...
The struggle to develop and maintain a healthy and balanced attitude to diet, exercise and body weight / image is difficult for many people, particularly in Westernised countries.
It seems the harder we try to follow dietary and / or exercise guidelines or specific formulas - the more we are seen to fail, which can create a potentially harmful cycle of disorderly eating and exercising.
Let's concentrate on a sensible and healthy approach to food, diet and exercise and start to believe in ourselves.
Diets don't work
Research and statistics worldwide tell us time and time again that DIETS DON'T WORK !
- diet means deprivation for many people and encourages over or disordered eating
- the majority of people can't maintain the guidelines of most diets in particular fad diets
- they don't educate people about healthy choices for permanent long term weight management and health
- they give temporary results that in many cases reverse and subsequently make people gain more weight than lost
- many diets don't educate or incorporate sensible exercise guidelines.
Healthy weight tips
- Choose realistic weight loss or gain goals - are they specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART) based? realistic? attainable?
- Learn about non hungry eating and eating associated with emotions
- Limit processed foods such as take away or fast food meals.
- Watch meal portion sizes (don't super size up). Enjoy food and eat slowly.
- Don't skip meals, particularly breakfast. Drink water (1-3 litres per day).
- Get moving - exercise every day if you can. Both dedicated and incidental exercise. Make sure the exercise you pick is enjoyable and something you will keep doing. Build in variety and look upon exercise as any chance to get up and move.
Being underweight can be a difficult for some people. Overall the principles are no different in terms of applying the 'healthy weight' guidelines. Some additional tips include:
- Have regular meals at scheduled intervals and don't skip meals.
- Have smaller, more frequent meals and incorporate healthy snacks between meals (for example smoothies, dried fruit / nuts).
- Have a check-up with your doctor to eliminate an underlying medical cause.
- Consult with a dietitian.
Body image is linked to our self awareness, self perception, self esteem and how we view ourselves in this world. Body image is influenced by many factors including; parenting, gender, culture, media, peers, the fashion and beauty industry and self esteem. Men are also increasingly under pressure to achieve an ideal body including thinness, muscularity and definition.
What can be done?
Overall health and wellbeing is the important goal of which healthy, balanced eating and exercise is an important part. Caring for your mental health and wellbeing is also equally important: including focusing on positive achievements, avoiding negative and black / white self talk and aiming for a balanced view of self and others in the world.
There are a variety of self-help and professional resources including Counselling and Deakin Medical Centre staff that can also assist with tackling issues around health, wellbeing and body image.
Shopping and healthy eating
It is important to remember that the foods we eat will directly affect our energy levels and how we feel.
Shopping and meal planning
- Set yourself a weekly food plan and budget, list all meals for the week and ingredients needed, planning can save time and money.
- If you live in a share house, cook together and share meals.
- Plan meals with a high vegetable content, healthy and cheaper option.
- Buy foods such as - soups, pasta and pasta sauces, rice, beans and lentils, meat and fish, vegetables and fruit plus extras such as spices, herbs, sauces and stock cubes
- Drink mainly water (tap water is fine in Australia as is bottled water), avoid soft drinks and energy drinks.
- Take lunch and snacks to University include snacks such as fruit, yogurt, dried fruit and nuts.
Further information and advice
From Deakin Medical Centre
Please note: Whilst care has been taken to ensure that external web sites are credible sources of information, no responsibility can be taken for their content. Web-based health information does not replace the need to see an appropriate health care professional.
- Self esteem - advice from Deakin Counseling Service
- Eating disorders (food - a source of pleasure and pain)- advice from Deakin Counseling Service
- Butterfly foundation - supports Australians with eating disorders. The Butterfly Foundation provides financial assistance for the relief of sufferers of eating disorders and for the prevention of disease by supporting education and early intervention programs
- If not dieting - provides help and support to achieve/maintain a healthy weight for each individual person, whilst not dieting or feeling guilty about food
- Eating disorders - information, resources, support and advocacy for people and their families experiencing an eating disorder
Diet and fitness
- Go for your life - aims to promote healthy eating and increase levels of physical activity
- Australian Sports Commission
- Glycemix index - information on many aspects of the Glycemic Index of foods, including latest data, new research, books, testing services and information on the GI symbol program
- Travelsmart - information about the state government exercise and environment initiative 'Travelsmart' relating to Deakin.
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